In recent years, most software projects don’t do what the customer expected, and cost more than expected. However, we can change this situation by setting up a community or standards to find good project management practices. This could help to decrease the debates between different people. Standards includes both acknowledged parts which established by authority, and unacknowledged parts which produced by individual organization such as customers. Although it’s easy to set up standards, it’s still difficult to find good standards. Suzanne came up with an idea that “adopting the practices” . It means with a series of practices, people could benefit from using them to learn them and apply them. Good standards can enable this adoption process and influence the adoption of project management practices in three areas: deployment of practices in an organization, customer-supplier relationships and the community of project management practitioners. So, it’s important to notice these three aspects. I think the first two areas are more important. I will mainly discuss them in the following sections.
Standardization and deploying the practice
When deploying a project management practice, a good standard could save the time. People develop the infrastructure by following a common reference point and have fewer debates. In reality, it’s not enough to just have one standard. Multiple standards could increase the competitive. To avoid the confusion and conflicts between different standards, some organizations adopt a principle of transparency. Some experts with different standards argue about which practices fit where and synthesize their ideas. This could help the organizations have better capacity to respond to the various external environments.
I really agree with this point. Standard provides a direction when developing a project management practice. Multiple standards could diversify the practices. However, to avoid the confusion, experts need to analyze thoroughly to come up with an organizational standard to respond to different environments. It’s very similar with the policy “One country, two systems”. In order to achieve the reunification of China, the leaders came up with this policy and allow Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan to retain their capitalist economic and political systems, while the rest of China uses the socialist system . Besides, there are also some autonomous areas like Tibet and Inner Mongolia. They govern themselves because they have different customs. I think it really a wise policy. Because China is a very big country, some areas have different history, economics systems and customs, the same standard for all the country may impede their development. So, I think good standard could reduce the time to deploy new practices and reduce arguments about which practices to focus on. However, if the organization’s scale is large and diverse, we need to consider multiple standards for different environments.
Standardization and customer-supplier relationships
In order to save time and find better suppliers, customer organizations always find a standard to evaluate suppliers and remove out suppliers who don’t meet their standards. I think it’s really a good way for customers to select suppliers they need, because it’s convenient and quick. However, Suzanne also pointed out the problems it may bring out. Some organizations don’t conform the standards well may regardless of their business goal or others.
Some years ago, there was a company called “SAN LU”. In order to increase the content of nitrogen, they mixed melamine into their milk powers. Milks powders with higher content of nitrogen could be sold in higher prices. However, melamine cannot be eaten. They thought they could not be revealed. However, this caused lots of infants dead.
So, don’t do this! Don’t struggle for adapting to the standard!
This is an exaggerated example. However, it does give us a warning. When developing the projects, we should concern more about the quality of products, or the technology used in the projects. Besides, customers should not over rely on standards or software process assessment, especially when they use outsourcing.
Standardization and practitioner community
There are some self-organizing and self-sustaining communities of practitioners. They help to evolve the field of practices they’re concentrating on. They aim to improve skill and knowledge in their field and affect the organizations to develop their project management standards. There are some worldwide project management communities of practice such as www.projectmanagement.com and PMI. Besides, ICPM  is another example of community. It’s an international community for project management. It provides an internet platform for people to discuss and keep up with what’s happening in the profession. So, as we can see, there are lots of communities for project management. It’s a good way for us to communicate with others from all over the world and improve the standards.
In this post, I discuss the how standards affect adoption of project management practices. Standards may affect the adoption of project management practice in three areas. We need to consider the deployment of practices, relationships between customer and supplier and the community of project management practitioners. All of them are related to the standards.
 How Standards Enable Adoption of Project Management Practice. S. Garcia. IEEE Software, September/October 2005.
 E. Wenger, Cultivating Communities of Practice: A Guide to Managing Knowledge, Harvard Business School Press, 2002.